Resources for the Parents of First Gen Students

Part of this post is personal, part of this post is sharing of resources. Sunday we met with our dear niece who is a senior in high school and will be the first in her family to go to college. The only other person in her extended family to go to college is her uncle, who happens to be my husband. We talk about his experiences quite often and they reinforce the research we read about the experiences of first generation college students. A high school teacher in his small, rural town had attended an ivy league school. She knew the importance of a college education for my husband as it would change the trajectory of his life from 5th generation logger to where he is today. As we are talking with his niece, she is facing alot of the same barriers, hurdles and naysayers. Luckily she has her eye on the prize- she is going no matter what barriers, hurdles and naysayers stand in her path. I am so proud of her strength, maturity and awareness.

However, we had to have a very difficult conversation about finances. She worked very hard to gain admission to a small, private liberal arts college. It was a great decision on her part since we talked alot about institutional fit and finding the ideal campus for learning. Her rationale for institutional fit is perfect and the campus she has selected does seem to meet all her needs. But, it also comes with the hefty bill of a small, private liberal arts college. It will be impossible for her to attend because she has limited access to loans, her family has no financial means to support her, and it would be impossible for her to have the money to attend. The decision was a heart breaker. Her greatest college dream was smashed into pieces. Now we are picking them back up and will forge on to a new dream. I distinctly remember her comment, “but I worked so hard to get my IB degree and do everything right.”

She will go to college. She will be successful. She will achieve her dreams.

This was certainly a slap of reality for all of us. Things that we knew in the back of our minds and were privileged to escape for a moment came racing to the forefront. The impact that class, gender, race, ethnicity and capital have on us every day. I put a call out on Twitter on Sunday “anyone know of a book or good readings for parents of first gen college students? #sachat”

The use of #sachat proved invaluable again. Here are the resources that were graciously shared with me.


Limbo shared by @triciabrand, Making the Most of College shared by @debhammacher, The Happiest Kid on Campus shared by @debsanborn, Confessions of a College Freshman shared by @nestrada89

Web Resource

First in the Family shared by @tbump

Please comment below on the following questions:

– How can you use this information to inform your work?

– What can you do to remove barriers, forge new paths and support first generation college students and their families on your campus?

– What resources can you share with others?


#sadoc writing workshop

As many of you know I am a doctoral candidate (and have been for the last year) in Educational Leadership at the University of Oregon. Today I attended a workshop on dissertation writing as I am preparing to better engage with the dissertation process, hoping to complete it year from now. The workshop was really great! As a reminder to myself and to share with others, I was “tweeting” during the workshop. The twitter summary can be found below. Since tweets are recorded in real time, start from the bottom and read up. Each bullet point is a “tweet.”

If you are interested, there is a great community in Twitter that uses the #sadoc hashtag to share information such as this as well as provide support.

What other advice do you have for the #sadoc community on writing a dissertation? Share in the comment section!

  • what r ur “rhetorical moves?” how do you take specific moves in your intro? tell a story, create a niche, then occupy the niche #sadoc
  • Need 2 Know: background context, problem ur addressing, YOUR focus/claim, support 4 ur claim. Intro of paper #sadoc
  • Writing 4 an Audience: what does a reader of academic texts need 2 know? How do I position myself as a member of this academic field #sadoc
  • wow! that 5 min was uber productive. Wrote down an entire page of ideas! #sadoc #fiveminadayfan
  • What r key words related 2 my paper/research? What would a visual schema of my ideas look like? Some ideas related to my paper are.. #sadoc
  • We are doing it right now! Taking 5 min writing break!!! Get ready for starter phrases…. #sadoc
  • outline early, then fill in content. provides a balance of the big picture against the trees. #sadoc
  • write down notes/ideas as you read. write a little every day- notes, diagramming, freewriting. Just something. #sadoc
  • Getting started: write to yourself first. Don’t let your eventual audience intimidate you. #sadoc
  • for a visual of the painting a canvas approach to see how the stages of writing Inspire you to see as process #sadoc
  • the #sadoc writing tips are coming from Dr. Keli Yerian, Linguistics and Am Eng Inst Super helpful!
  • writing is more like adding layers to a canvas than adding links in a chain #sadoc
  • often an iterative process. draft, reorganize, add new material, cut material, revise after someone reads it. improve as you go #sadoc
  • often like herding cats, because there are loose ends and doesn’t always feel like it’s headed in the same direction #sadoc
  • is writing more like herding cats or like driving a car from point a to b? #sadoc
  • we are talking about managing advisor and committee dynamics- expectations, personalities, ownership of process #sadoc
  • excited 4 presentation from “Rehearsals 4 Life” theater troupe presenting on topics 4 grad stus. Love this group! #sadoc
  • create an elevator speech 4 your diss. practice presenting your project and answering questions #sadoc
  • Dealing w/ stress- ask for help (emotional/practical), interact w/ others as writing can be lonely, easy to become isolated #sadoc
  • create a papertrail- clear communication btwn u & advisor. mini-contracts of what ur doing and what they r doing #sadoc
  • when u have work time and writing is not flowing, focus on the tasky things- title page, references, formatting. Check off the list #sadoc
  • the red markings and edits fr: ur advisor are helping you. means they r taking u serious as a scholar and advancing ur work. #sadoc
  • remember it is a privilege 2 b at this point- to have the opportunity to advanced edu & to write on something ur passionate about #sadoc
  • frame writing as enjoyable & stomething that brings you satisfaction #sadoc
  • mini-deadlines are impt. stick to your schedule. find balance- make sure to exercise and take breaks #sadoc
  • where might you work best, and get yourself there. Reward yourself for meeting deadlines #sadoc
  • writing tips 4 #sadoc: block out times to write and work. don’t wait until you feel like it.